Answered: Power Sources for Non-functional Decorations

The general idea behind this thread is that some members of my team are interested in putting LEDs on our robot as a non-functional decoration. My general curiosity in this matter is divided into several questions:

  1. Is it legal to have a fourth battery on one’s robot (besides the two 7.2 volt robot batteries and the 9 volt backup battery) for the sole purpose of powering a non-functional decoration (such as an LED), assuming that the LEDs do not provide any advantage or disadvantage to either alliance and are not overly distracting to either alliance.

  2. I have seen teams that have lights on their robot that are not powered through the robot batteries (such as the green flashlights on Team 429c at the All-Star tournament in Orlando and the LED lapel pin that Team 254A had a couple years ago). Is it legal to have a completely self-contained electrical system (such as a small flashlight) on the robot?

  3. Rule <13> says that “Additional batteries cannot be used on the robot (even ones that aren’t connected).” Would it be legal to use a different power source besides a battery (e.g. a capacitor) for a non-functional decoration?

  4. Is it legal to power non-VEX electrical components (such as a string of non-VEX LEDs) through the Microcontroller or through the power expander? The non-VEX electrical components would be solely used as a non-functional decoration. I am asking this question because some members of my team want to light up the bottom of our robot with a string of LEDs for purely aesthetic effect (we think that it would look especially cool when we hang). It would be cumbersome to power the required number of LEDs with a bunch of Y-cables.

After much discussion, we have decided that this would not be legal. Their are a wealth of safety issues that come into play with batteries and as such we cannot allow this, even if only for decorative purposes.

No, this is not legal.

Definitely not, for safety reasons.

No, this also would not be legal.